Thursday, July 23, 2015

The Story

The story of my life is that I do things like hop on planes as though I'm that person. I put on make-up and haul my laptop in a cute bag and I walk with my eyes facing front, pretending I'm someone other than a girl who has never, ever executed an online pre-board (honestly, I don't even know what it's called and I'm not convinced it's even real...) I sit at the gate and flip through my phone like everyone around me, the notion washing over me, who have I become? I swore I'd never be a chronic boredom filler, but I let it recede. There's a local-famous person just a few seats down and when I point my phone directly at him and take a picture, he assumes I'm absent-mindedly scrolling through my Instagram feed.

Cory and the kids dropped me off curb-side last week with the kids still in pajamas, and it's really the only way to travel. I'll remember that the next time I schlep off alone to O'Hare, driving for hours, angsty that I'm lost, worried about parking and maneuvering and shuttle buses, pre-emptively anxious about airplane toilets (<< the WORST).

I'm not a good traveler.

Before every single flight I've ever made, I lie in bed a night or two beforehand and ask Cory, "What if I die?" I never feel okay until he promises me I won't. And when one of my kids tells me the night before this last trip, "I'm worried you'll get lost from us," I promise them the same - I'll come back. I promise - We all know better, but I take liberties and boss God around a bit. He is God and I am not, it's true. But my kids have born enough heartache and these are promises I should be allowed to make without reservation. Keep us needy in other ways, God. Please.

The story of my life is that I often get homesick for my family, once I'm "there". I always want to take them with me and I never feel fully right until I'm back home.

You're nodding along because you know it's true, this is what it means to have a family. It doesn't matter if you're the mom or the daughter or the sister or the girlfriend.We tie our souls inextricably to others and when there's too much slack, well, we're adrift.

But the story of my life is that sometimes, once I'm squirreled away, "disappeared into the sky," trusting my kids are still kissed and cared for; once I'm among people whom I love and who love me back, I fall into step. The blues recede, and I wiggle my shoulders into a different dress.

I'm linen when I thought I was always cotton.
Still me, but with time on my hands and a clearer head.

I sit in a barn among an unlikely sisterhood and feel untethered, strangely emotional, unsure of whether I'm mostly happy, mostly sad, or somewhere in between. There's a common thread between us, and I'm speechless over the way we're bound. They have welcomed me well and accepted me as fully Shannan.

But I can't bring them home with me.

The story of my life right now, with the last mockingbird in denial about the setting sun and the neighbors kicking up a fuss, I know I'm in need of people who not only acknowledge my life, but understand it. I need compatriots. I've become numb to the ways a weird life gets lonely.

The strum of a guitar, the song and the moonlight, they cracked something deep inside me.
I'll patch it up with tar and pitch. I'll patch it with a wish.

It won't be like this forever.

The story of my life is that I was meant for a hayfield, but that's not all.

I understand the weeds, never prettier than when they grab the light. I'm a sister to the busted-up sidewalks of this city. The flower that pushes up between them has my heart forever.

We think of ourselves as wholes, but maybe we're actually a thousand different intersecting arcs.

We are so many things. We won't stop contradicting ourselves. We couldn't if we tried.

We're incomplete works of art in a studio where progress sometimes looks like reheated soup and yesterday's socks.

The singular story of my life, and yours, is that it never stops bending/fading/snapping into view.

This is the story of life.